Ever since we first started our RV search, I’ve dreamed of having my favorite kid join us on adventures – which is the main reason we opted for a rig with additional seating and sleeping options. So, during our quick Florida visit to see family, we made sure to have our nephew over for a sleepover!
As soon as his parents told him we were coming to pick him up, his bag was packed and he was ready to go. I even got a “How much longer will you be?” email while we were on our way. (Yes, we email each other, it’s great!)
Since we only had time to go about an hour away, it wasn’t quite the epic adventure I hoped to share with him. But, in his opinion, it was still one of the coolest things he had done in a while. And this was only a test-run for longer trips we hope to take him on, after we get a little more experienced at full-timing.
Although we couldn’t find any awesome, fun parks due to it being Memorial Day Weekend, we still enjoyed wandering around the small park we ended up at. We walked out to the pond multiple times and during each excursion our hilarious nephew critiqued all the other rigs at the park. While others were too big or had bad paint jobs, he assured us that “THE VIEW” (as he emphatically referred to it), was perfect in every way. Can you see why we adore him? Such a charmer!
While inside the RV, he wanted to live in the loft – as expected. And aside from eating and drinking, we were happy to let him. We watched movies, drew pictures, played games and had a blast hanging out. He even showed us a helpful feature of our LED lights we hadn’t figured out yet – if you hold down the button, the blue light turns to a brighter, white reading light. (You’re welcome, fellow View owners!)
Our short visit filled my heart with so much joy and anticipation for stealing him on long weekends and school breaks in the future. However, this first overnight gave us some great insight on how to be better prepared next time and tips for others that want to have kids come visit in their RV.
Get parental approval on seating and sleeping arrangements.
Most RVs don’t have traditional passenger seats or shoulder straps for preferred installation of car seats. There are ways to make it work, but it is important that the child is safe and that their parents are okay with the situation. And even if the guardian gives the go-ahead, make sure that you are complying with the state laws in the areas you will be visiting.
It is also important to talk about where the kid will be sleeping. A loft with no guardrail can be dangerous for children that roll around in their sleep, so make sure you discuss this too. Luckily, our nephew has bunk beds and was a total pro at loft sleeping!
Establish the rules beforehand.
Know what rules the parents are expecting their child to follow and establish additional rules for your rig. Make sure your under-age guest can agree to them and be ready to stick to them. Our rules were: Leave the cat alone, no rough housing inside and, most importantly, no leaving the RV without us.
We had to remind our nephew of these a few times, but he is an extremely respectful kid and did great in the RV. He even wrote us a thank you note and offered to do the dishes all on his own!
Explain how everything works – and make it fun!
For most kids, getting to stay in an RV is a vacation in itself. Teach them how everything works and let them help if you think they can safely handle it. Our nephew was eager to help get us hooked up and Buddy was happy to explain how we plugged into electricity and connected to water. Since he was a good listener, we let him take the lead the next day!
And, as you should with any RV guest, make sure to explain the toilet! Most people can figure it out, but we’ve had some adults in there pressing buttons they shouldn’t be while looking for a way to flush it. Initially, we were going to get a composting toilet and I warned my nephew he would have to crank a lever after going #2. He thought that was gross and jokingly said, “You may as well collect leaves from outside to wipe with!” Needless to say, he was excited to find out we didn’t go that route!
Stock up at the grocery store.
We didn’t realize it until afterwards, but this was the first time we ever had our nephew overnight at our own place. I visit at least once a year; however, it is an entirely different experience when his parents aren’t there to help. I had never realized how much a growing boy could eat! I made him three separate dinners, plus snacks – and he is all muscle. I think it all just turns into pure energy.
Before setting out on your adventure, I suggest a visit to the grocery store to get easy-to-make meals, cook-out supplies and snacks. This is another time you’ll want to check with the parents to make sure there aren’t any no-nos or allergies you should be aware of. But, otherwise, it is wise to just stock up.
Plan plenty of time to get the wiggles out.
If the RV is a-rockin’, there’s probably an 8-year-old inside with lots of pent up energy! The first thing we noticed about having a kid in our RV is that we felt every move he made. If he flailed his legs, we felt it. If he looked out the window, we felt it. If he skipped the last step of the ladder, we really felt it and our neighbors may have too!
But you can’t expect a young kid to sit still for too long! Make sure you have plans to go outside, play games and burn off some of that energy. Even if you are watching a movie, it may be good to take an intermission and do a few laps around the park, so the TV isn’t shaking mid-way through. Getting them to bring some favorite games and movies is a great idea as well – especially if you will be doing any driving.
Stay somewhere cool!
We made it work, but not having a pool, bike trails or attractions within walking distance was a bummer. The next day we went to a better park and wore ourselves out biking, but that first night was a bit of a struggle at times. And planning our next visit during better weather will also help. No one wants to sit outside when it is hot, muggy and a million bugs are trying to eat you alive.
This trip was a super-quick, barely planned visit. But, next time, we hope to have a few days with our nephew that are well-planned and jam-packed with activities. We usually like to wing it, but this is one of the few times we feel planning ahead is key!
But, for a semi-spontaneous, nowhere-exciting first sleepover, I think we did a good job. At one point, our nephew even told us he was going to get an RV when he grows up. While this is a huge compliment, our intentions aren’t to sway him to choose this awesome lifestyle as an adult. We are just excited to get to share our life with him, make some great memories and inspire him to think outside of the box. Most importantly, we want him to know he has a crazy support team out on the road routing for him!
Have you ever invited your niece, nephew or grandkid to stay in your RV? Please share any tips or funny stories you have!